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Simonides of Ceos was attending a banquet; when he stepped outside, the hall collapsed. However, he was able to identify all the highly disfigured bodies by recalling where each person sat at the banquet. That, it is believed, was the beginning of mnemonics, the art of memory.
To anyone who has been following cricket, numbers conjure and evoke strange feelings, morphing into characters. A 158 suddenly brings Brendon McCullum to mind. Any student of mnemonics would vouch for the fact that memorising large chunks of data can be achieved by etching vivid visuals to each number. It's a technique that can easily be utilised for purpose of memory pegs. I would probably brainstorm the following template of eidetic imagery if asked what comes to my mind when certain numbers are flashed on screen. (Although there are several gaps and some reveal my support for Bangladesh, I am sure any aficionado could easily fill in the details with their imagination.)
0: Don Bradman's final duck, a blemish to an otherwise perfect record. 1: The gazillion runs scored from a single ball stuck on the tree as written in lore books. 2: The Waugh brothers stand out, especially the square cuts and Mark Waugh's one-handed acrobatic catch at the boundary. 3: Any hat-trick will suffice. Vaas' comes to mind. 4: Shoaib Akhtar's match-winning spell in 2008 stands out for Kolkata Knight Riders against Delhi Daredevils, in which he took four wickets in three overs. 5: Five wickets in six balls that consisted of two run-outs and a cleanup of stumps by Mohammad Aamir in that Australia-Pakistan T20. 6: Imran Khan. When I was about five, I saw the first six by the allrounder. 7: Murali's seven wickets that were all catches in Sharjah in 2000. 10: Anil Kumble's match-winning spell against Pakistan.
11: The players in a team. 12: Twelve-ball fifty by Yuvraj in World Twenty20 2007. 17: Seventeen-ball fifty by Jayasuriya (fastest ever in ODIs). 19: Jim Laker's match-haul against Australia in 1956. 20: 20 runs off 1 ball, as shown in the viral video floating around on YouTube. 22: Twenty-two-yard pitch. 28: Most runs in an over in Tests (Lara). 42: Laws of cricket. 45: Australia beat England by 45 runs (1st Test, Melbourne, 1877). 32: Gayle scoring 666446 in an over. 36: The six sixers by either Garry Sobers, Ravi Shastri, Yuvraj or Herschelle Gibbs. 37: Thirty-seven-ball 100 by Yusuf Pathan. 50: Shahid Afridi's fastest fifty. 56: Balls faced for fastest Test century by Viv Richards. 58: Bangladesh's lowest total in World Cup 2011. 61: Oh the joy of seeing my team bowl West Indies out for this paltry score!
78: Yet another low total by Bangladesh in World Cup 2011. 87: Considered unlucky by the Australians. 93: A favourite T20 innings of mine, in which Tamim Iqbal remained not out playing for Wayamba against Uthura in the Sri Lanka Premier League. 94: Ashraful scored 94 off 52 balls against England. 100: Fastest century by Shahid Afridi, off 37 balls. 101: Chris Gayle's innings in just 44 balls. 106: Viv Richards and Michael Holding's tenth-wicket stand in Manchester (1984). 117: Richard Levi's T20 ton. 123: Being a Bangladesh fan, that haunting McCullum innings, when he took apart Bangladesh's bowlers in recent T20 World Cup (2012). 130: Highest seventh-wicket partnership in ODIs (Andy Flower- Heath Streak 2001).
151: Tamim Iqbal's highest score in Tests. 152: Gayle v South Africa in 2003-04. 154: Tamim Iqbal's highest score in ODIs. 158: Ashraful's highest score in Tests (against India), or Brendon McCullum's ton for Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL opener. 175: Sehwag's blitzkrieg against Bangladesh in the opening match of World Cup 2011. 165: Bannerman's century - the first in Tests. 183: A Virat Kohli classic from the 2012 Asia Cup, v Pakistan, or MS Dhoni v Sri Lanka, 2005. 185: Shane Watson mauling of Bangladesh, during which he hit the most of number of sixes in an ODI innings. 189: Viv Richards' highest score in an ODI. 194: Saeed Anwar's innings.
200: Sachin Tendulkar's innings against South Africa, the first ODI double-century. 201: Jason Gillespie's highest Test score, against Bangladesh. 209: Bangladesh's Soumya Sarkar scored 209 against Qatar in the Under-19 Asia Cup this year. 211: The first double-century in Tests - Billy Murdoch's innings against England in 1884 at The Oval. 219: Highest score in an ODI, courtesy Virender Sehwag. 254: Garry Sobers' innings against Australia in 1971-72. 260: Sri Lanka's record T20 total v Kenya. 268: Ali Brown's highest individual score in List A. 275: Mohammad Azharuddin-Ajay Jadeja fourth-wicket stand in ODIs. 286: Highest first-wicket stand by Upul Tharanga and Sanath Jayasuriya.
300: Don Bradman with the most number of triple hundreds, with Lara, Sehwag, Gayle. 318: Sourav Ganguly-Rahul Dravid's partnership in Taunton against Sri Lanka (1999). 319: Sehwag's fastest triple-century, which is incidentally 100 runs more than his ODI record. 329: Michael Clarke's innings against India in early 2012. 331: The highest partnership in an ODI. 365: Garry Sobers' innings against Pakistan. 375: Brian Lara's long held highest Test score record. 374: Mahela Jayawardena v South Africa. 380: Matthew Hayden beating Lara's record in Tests. 400: Brian Lara.
And there we have the rough blueprint to build a mind map that could help commit to memory say a modest 400-page tome. Of course this is a subjective list, but whatever memory one associates with each number, it can help construct concepts for each page of the book. Mentally glue the information within to your favorite cricket memories as per page number, and voilà …
Alas! Is this the reward for painstakingly staying up all night to buffering streams of matches? That ultimately all these years of memories could actually can be (ab)used to create a palatial system of memory? Is this the stigma of being a cricket fan? Oh well, as they say, cricket can be an education in itself.
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